Monday, August 30, 2010

So Much Stuff; So Little Poker

I realized that I've had quite a bit of stuff going on lately, and very little of it has had to deal with the actual playing of poker by me. Some of these could be entire posts, but I think I'm just going to lump them all together. Here goes.

I officially destroyed the weight loss bet, basically crushing souls because for some reason most of the other people who ponied up cash to play didn't make their goals. When I started this endeavor I was just hoping to break even and actually lose some weight; I never dreamed I would win $400+ off the thing. Hurray for me. Another weight loss bet is starting up in the micros forum (I feel sickly proud that this thread would not have started without my vague statement 4 months ago "Anybody want to do a weight loss prop bet?") and I've decided not to enter, despite the fact that I feel like I could lose another 10 pounds pretty easily and crush some more souls. Instead, I'm going to switch my fitness focus to continuing to eat healthy (basically no fried food, no red meat, smaller portions, etc), lifting weights every 2-3 days, swimming to get ready for the Aquathon (donations still appreciated, and by "get ready for" I mean "attempt to avoid injury in") and perhaps making a run at completing 100 push ups (perhaps another 2p2 bet is in order after all). I feel very healthy and happy after this whole thing, and strongly encourage anyone out there who is considering it to jump into the Micros bet.

Fantasy football is afoot, and I once again will be co-managing two teams with my father, who was playing fantasy football before many of you were born, back when only touchdowns mattered (but you got more points for longer ones), you started two quarterbacks, there was a "rookie" position, and you had to manually extract the scores from USA Today to find out who had to buy the donuts on Wednesday morning. One of my earliest football memories is of sitting in my parents bed watching the Steelers get blown out by I believe the Houston Oilers and my father lamenting that Tim Worley wasn't worth a sack of beans. That may or may not have been the same year Doug Drabek lost a no- hitter with 2 outs in the ninth inning. Anyway, I'm in the middle of a draft for my "fun only" league, which somehow has dwindled to eight teams this year meaning that basically everyone's team is going to be stacked. We nabbed Michael Turner and Andre Johnson with the wrapper 8-9 pick and I think are off to a solid start, mainly because as we all know one measure of your fantasy team is the quality of your number 1 Johnson. My other league is run by my buddy Dave, and has an extremely quixotic set of rules (basically set down by Bill Simmons 6 years ago) in which you can flex a quarterback 6 times a year, and the playoffs actually happen, gasp, during the playoffs. I have finished 2nd, 4th, and 2nd in this league in the three years I've played, and am hoping to take Ben's Appendage all the way this season. As an aside the team started off as "Ben's Appendix" and was renamed "Ben's Appendage" after the Lake Tahoe incident. I'm considering changing the "Ben's Therapist" in memory of Celebrity Jeopardy on SNL, where Sean Connery says "I'll take The Rapists for $200".

Online poker is going kind of well, sort of. I'm using Fulltilt's Ironman Promotion to keep myself engaged, which has me playing several hundred hands on more days than not. The promotion itself is kind of silly and is really only considered a small part of their customer loyalty program (Rakeback is the primary component; I've earned something like $2000 in rake back this year). My graph for the year is preposterous, with something like a $3000 downswing right smack in the middle of it, basically never playing any higher than 3/6. I think I was playing pretty crappily a while back when I tried to have "online only" days, forcing myself to play several thousand hands, so for now I'm just trying to stay involved and never go more than a day or two without logging in and playing a couple hundred hands. It's a work in progress, but hopefully I can keep it going and keep improving to the point that I feel confident that I know enough (about game selection, my own concentration/focus) to win consistently. This month I'm only going to make the silver level, so the official goal is gold in September.

Everyone is quitting. The problem with playing poker for a living is that most of your friends have a relatively short shelf life, and if they don't they are fairly likely to re-locate, either geographically or stakes-wise within a year or two of you becoming friends with them. I moved to LA 6 months ago, and in the interim two of my closest poker friends up north have (1) quit and gotten a real job and (2) changed jobs to a situation that is likely to seriously hamper his ability to keep playing at the same level for much longer. And a good friend down here is also considering quitting, mostly because he's found it's not worth the stress and he's not feeling challenged enough to continue putting in the time/effort that could be better spent on, you know, the rest of his goals in life. So basically what I'm saying here is that a lot of the people I know that are very competent at life and have the skills to succeed at poker also seem to have very high opportunity costs (they could produce a lot with their efforts elsewhere) which makes it harder to justify continuing to play. This is sort of a similar situation for me, and I've known for about 6 months now that I'm making the incorrect decision from a financial point of view by keeping at this. But it makes me happy, in general. Last week I actually had a nightmare, the premise of which was that I had a job and my first day was today and I had to go in but didn't know where to go or who my boss was or what I was even going to be doing. It was quite awful, actually, which re-enforced to me that I'm not ready to give this up yet.


Dave said...

I like your team name. That's a classic SNL skit.

But "quixotic"? I do not think that word means what you think it means.

Patrick said...

I enjoy the Ironman status because:
a) I can reach the top status by playing 300-400 hands a day 25 days a month.
b) I have a full time non poker job which would make getting the highest level on Stars impossible
c) It doesn't promote playing long long sessions like the Stars rewards do

It seems to be a better way for a part time player like me to keep me involved and force me to play almost daily.

jesse8888 said...

That's most of the reason I play on Tilt and enjoy the Ironman program. It's set up such that just a reasonable amount of effort on my part is required to make decent progress.

And Dave, from,

extravagantly chivalrous or romantic; visionary,